Alaska Senate

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Alaska Senate
Alaska Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
January 20, 2015
Kevin Meyer (R)
Since January 20, 2015
Majority Leader
John Coghill (R)
Since January 15, 2013
Minority Leader
Berta Gardner (D)
Since January 20, 2015
Seats 20
Political groups
Governing party

Opposition party

Length of term
4 years
Authority Article 2, Alaska Constitution
Salary $50,400/year + per diem
Last election
November 6, 2012 (7 seats: districts B, D, H, J, L, R),
November 4, 2014 (13 seats: districts A, C, E, F, G, I, K, M, N, O, P, Q, S, T)
Next election
November 8, 2016 (10 seats: districts B, D, F, H, J, L, N, P, R, T),
November 6, 2018 (10 seats: districts A, C, E, G, I, K, M, O, Q, S)
Redistricting Alaska Redistricting Board
Meeting place
Senate Chamber, Alaska.jpg
State Senate Chamber
Alaska State Capitol
Juneau, Alaska
Alaska State Senate

The Alaska Senate is the upper house in the Alaska Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Alaska. It convenes in the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska and is responsible for making laws and confirming or rejecting gubernatorial appointments to the state cabinet, commissions and boards.

With just twenty members, the Alaska Senate is the smallest upper house legislative chamber in the United States. Its members serve four-year terms and each represent an equal amount of districts with populations of approximately 35,512 people, per 2010 Census figures. They are not subject to term limits.

Powers and legislative process

The Alaska Senate shares the responsibility for making laws in the state of Alaska. Bills are developed by staff from bill requests and information from the bill's sponsor. Bills undergo three or four readings during the legislative process. After the first reading, they are assigned to committee. Committees can amend measures or hold legislation and prevent it from reaching the Senate floor. Once a committee has weighed in on a piece of legislation, the bill returns to the floor for second hearing and a third hearing, which happens just before the floor vote on it.[1]

Once passed by the Senate, a bill is sent to the opposite legislative house for consideration. If approved, without amendment, it is sent to the governor. If there is amendment, however, the Senate may either reconsider the bill with amendments or ask for the establishment of a conference committee to work out differences in the versions of the bill passed by each chamber. Once a piece of legislation approved by both houses is forwarded to the governor, it may either be signed or vetoed. If it is signed, it takes effect on the effective date of the legislation. If it is vetoed, lawmakers in a joint session may override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote (three-fourths majority is required if it is an appropriations bill).[1]

The Alaska Senate has the sole responsibility in the state's legislative branch for confirming gubernatorial appointees to positions that require confirmation.


Current committees include:[2]

Current composition

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End 27th legislature 10 5 5 20 0
Begin 28th legislature 5 2 13 20 0
End 28th legislature
Begin 5 1 14 20 0
Latest voting share 25% 75%


Qualifications and terms

Senators must be a qualified voter and resident of Alaska for no less than three years, and a resident of the district from which elected for one year immediately preceding filing for office.[3] A senator must be at least 25 years old at the time the oath of office is taken.[3]

Senators may expel a member with the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership of the house.[3] This has happened only once in Senate history. On February 5, 1982, the Senate of the 12th Legislature expelled Bethel senator George Hohman from the body. Hohman was convicted of bribery in conjunction with his legislative duties on December 24, 1981, and had defiantly refused to resign from his seat. Expulsion was not much a consideration during the more recent Alaska political corruption probe, as many of the legislators targeted by the probe resigned, lost renomination or reelection, or did not seek reelection.

Legislative terms begin on the second Monday in January following a presidential election year and on the third Tuesday in January following a gubernatorial election.[4] The term of senators is four years and half of the senators are up for election every two years.[4]


The President of the Senate presides over the body, appointing members to all of the Senate's committees and joint committees, and may create other committees and subcommittees if desired. Unlike many other states, the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska does not preside over the Senate. Instead, the Lieutenant Governor oversees the Alaska Division of Elections, fulfilling the role of Secretary of State. Only two other states, Hawaii and Utah, have similar constitutional arrangements for their lieutenant governors.[citation needed] The other partisan Senate leadership positions, such as the Majority and Minority leaders, are (usually) elected by their respective party caucuses to head their parties in the chamber.[citation needed]

Current leadership

Position Name Party Residence District
President Kevin Meyer Republican Anchorage M
Majority Leader John Coghill Republican North Pole B
Minority Leader Berta Gardner Democratic Anchorage I

Members of the 29th Senate

One Democrat (Hoffman) caucuses with the Republican-led majority.

Alaska State Senate
29th Alaska Legislature, 2015–2016
District Name Party Residence Assumed
A Kelly, PetePete Kelly Republican Fairbanks 2013 2018
B Coghill, JohnJohn Coghill Republican North Pole 2009 2016
C Bishop, ClickClick Bishop Republican Fairbanks 2013 2018
D Huggins, CharlieCharlie Huggins Republican Wasilla 2004 2016
E Dunleavy, MikeMike Dunleavy Republican Wasilla 2013 2018
F Stoltze, BillBill Stoltze Republican Chugiak 2015 2018
G MacKinnon, AnnaAnna MacKinnon Republican Eagle River 2013 2018
H Wielechowski, BillBill Wielechowski Democratic Anchorage 2007 2016
I Gardner, BertaBerta Gardner Democratic Anchorage 2013 2018
J Ellis, JohnnyJohnny Ellis Democratic Anchorage 1993 2016
K Costello, MiaMia Costello Republican Anchorage 2015 2018
L McGuire, LesilLesil McGuire Republican Anchorage 2007 2016
M Meyer, KevinKevin Meyer Republican Anchorage 2009 2018
N Giessel, CathyCathy Giessel Republican Anchorage 2011 2018
O Micciche, PeterPeter Micciche Republican Soldotna 2013 2018
P Egan, DennisDennis Egan Democratic Juneau 2009 2018
Q Stedman, BertBert Stedman Republican Sitka 2003 2018
R Stevens, GaryGary Stevens Republican Kodiak 2003 2016
S Hoffman, LymanLyman Hoffman Democratica Bethel 1995 2018
T Olson, DonaldDonald Olson Democratic Golovin 2001 2018

^a Caucuses with the Republican-led majority

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Legislative Process, Alaska Legislature (accessed April 25, 2013)
  2. "Alabama Senate Committees". Open States. Sunlight Foundation. April 9, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Alaska Handbook to State Government (accessed April 25, 2013)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Article 2 of the Alaska Constitution, Lieutenant Governor's Office (accessed April 26, 2013)

External links

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